In previous posts, I’ve discussed two ways you can manage event based retention in SharePoint: customization and the DoD 5015.2 Resource Kit. In this post, I’ll explain the third option: SharePoint Case Management.
A lot of my colleagues will say I am significantly oversimplifying things, but for demonstration purposes, I like to divide content into two groups, documents and records. Documents are essentially any piece of information existing in an organization. Documents are transitory and can change over time. For regulatory, historical and business purposes, a small portion of an organization’s collection of documents are required to become records. This means there is a declaration process where the document changes state, becomes immutable and is assigned a retention period.
So, an organization has documents and it has records, but legally speaking all of it is evidence. The courts don’t care whether the results of a discovery order were managed in a records repository or found sitting on a shared drive somewhere. Legally, it’s all same.
OK, fine, but how does this relate to SharePoint and event driven retention schedules? Good question. What this means is that even though SharePoint Expiration Policy is time driven by default, SharePoint and the Records Center can still be used to manage your Case Management (i.e. event driven) records collections.
To illustrate, we will use the Personnel records example from a previous post. As you may recall, we assumed your organization had a retention period of ‘Destroy 5 Years After Date of Termination’ for all Personnel records and we had an employee, Joe Smith, who had been with your organization for 25 years. Previously I suggested that during Joe’s time with the organization his Personnel documents would be declared records over time on a continuous basis.
My suggestion here is that Joe’s Personnel documents are allowed to remain in their original Document Library throughout the course of his time with your organization. Then, when he leaves the company, systematically, as part of your organization’s Employee Termination Procedure, move all his documents over into a corresponding Library in the Records Center. This Library would have a standard 5-year Expiration Policy set to the day the records were declared, but that would be fine because the records were declared on the day the event (Joe’s termination) occurred.
Unless you are in an extremely regulated industry, managing these records in this manner should be perfectly compliant with your organization’s records management requirements, because at no time is any of this evidence unavailable for discovery.